Special Report

50 Best Movies Based on True Events

Source: Courtesy of Triumph Films

5. Das Boot (1981)
> Favorable reviews: 95% of audiences
> Director: Wolfgang Petersen
> Starring: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann

“Das Boot” — which translates to “The Boat” — is often considered the best submarine movie of all time. The film is based on a novel written by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. The novel, and film, tell his experiences aboard a German submarine called U-96 during World War II.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
> Favorable reviews: 93% of audiences
> Director: David Lean
> Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn

This stunning epic, almost four hours long, made stars of Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. O’Toole plays the title role of a British officer who rallies disparate Arab tribes against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The film also won seven Oscars, including those for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. Goodfellas (1990)
> Favorable reviews: 97% of audiences
> Director: Martin Scorsese
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Martin Scorsese’s mafia classic “Goodfellas” is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s nonfiction bestseller “Wiseguy.” The book tells the story of mobster Henry Hill — played by Ray Liotta in the movie — and his criminal associates.

Source: Courtesy of GKIDS

2. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
> Favorable reviews: 95% of audiences
> Director: Isao Takahata
> Starring: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi

Based on a semi-autobiographical short story by Japanese author Akiyuki Nosaka about the privations of World War II in Japan — including the death of Nosaka’s sister from malnutrition — this evocative animated masterpiece has a Tomatometer score of 97% from Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times considers it “One of the most startling and moving animated films ever.”

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

1. Schindler’s List (1993)
> Favorable reviews: 97% of audiences
> Director: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” tells the true story of German factory owner Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews from concentration camps during World War II. The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.